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remodeling his home when he found a treasurer trove of loves sent to a world war ii veteran. he found them hidden above a heating duct. the love letters from a couple of women belonged to a war veteran who used to live there. here's what one letter said. >> sweetheart, it was hard to see you go. which we don't know how long it is going to be before we see each other again. when we saw this, we were just hoping it was, you know, but honestly, it was very cool. >> the letters were from women named violet and pat. he later named a woman named sadie. maybe that's why the letters were hidden. and now it's just about time for the wolf blitzer and "the
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situation room." wolf? >> thanks very much. happening right now, an emotional and very historic day on capitol hill. a brand new united states congress is sworn in and with it a new hope for reaching across the aisle. some of the cases may be knew, but many of the tough issues that have to be tackled certainly haven't changed. so is is there any real chance of getting anything done? and nearly three weeks since the devastating massacre, sandy hook elementary students return to school. we'll go there for a live report. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." an extra ordinary nar day here in washington. the 113th congress takes office ushering in, in a moment, what
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appeared to be a renewed push for bipartisanship on the heels of what has been an extremely tumultuous week of gridlock. one of the most striking moments of the day is this, a very emotional house speaker john boehner taking the gavel after being voted in by his colleagues to another term. >> put simply, worse than not to be something but to do something. [ applause ] or as like to call it, doing the right thing. it's a big job and it comes with big challenges. >> he got emotional, for good reason. our senior congressional correspondent dana bash was watching all of it unfold on capitol hill. an exciting, very passionate moment for the speaker of the house? >> reporter: that's right. i should say you probably see the crowd of people behind me.
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those are all new members of congress. actually, all of the members of congress as they are streaming by going to get their photos taken and have their mock swear-ins. the ceremonies are continuing here. of course it's emotional because john boehner tends to get emotional but his message was really interesting on two levels. one is, he clearly tried to telegraph that he still very much supports the philosophy and the goal of the 2010 congress that let him be speaker for the first time, which is to keep the taxes low and make the deficits lower. but he also tried to signal that he, you know, understands things haven't been that great and he said something along the lines of, people should understand that they should -- look at congress as something that is -- that they should be awe-struck
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by and members of congress don't do that enough right now. but obviously the big thing we're watching politically, wolf, was the question of him and the votes that he got and it is important to note that he lost about a dozen republicans. they voted for other people and there were different camps of them. some voted for others as a protest because they got kicked off of committees by the speaker. some voted for others because they are incoming freshman who want to prove that they are not going to be pulled into the leadership. but at the end of the day, he did get enough votes to remain speaker as he predicted and others predicted because the vast majority of republican members still think that he does a good job and, frankly, there are not a lot of people that could do a better job, they think. >> the republicans have the majority in the house. the democrats have the majority in the senate. basically, similar. the democrats picked up a few seats in the house. they did pick up a few houses in the senate. the demographics of this 113th congress is different. tell us about that.
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>> reporter: they are different. the balance of power is the same but the faces and the diversity is quite different. starting in the senate, which is way behind me, we've been talking about the fact that there is an historic number of women. 20 women. but in the house i think people remember or are known more now by the democratic party because many people have seen the movie "lincoln," that the democratic party got the white men in the south. and now for the very first time, the majority of the democrats in the house are not white men. they make up a whole host of other races and gender and so forth. and listen to a couple of those new members that helped bring that about. >> we have women hispanics, african-americans. it's diverse. it looks like our country and hopefully beyond that we'll be able to get together and i think everybody is committed to doing that. >> i think now we're seeing congress starting to catch up with where a lot of the rest of
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the country is and seeing a lot of diversity and representation here that brings different voices to the house. >> reporter: and i've talked to several of these members, whether they be hispanic, asian, or other nonwhite members. he this think it's important, if for no other reason, everybody here is human. everybody brings their own perspective and history and their own philosophy and that in and of it is he have, no matter what happens, will change the dynamic and the tone and texture of the debate here. >> looks like it's going to be an interesting and exciting debate. i have no doubt about that. we're going to speak to some new members in our 6:00 p.m. eastern segment. the representative from hawaii that you had in that clip, we'll speak with her. also, ted cruz, the republican senator from texas. they will both be joining us in our 6:00 p.m. hour. dana, thank you very much.
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despite the pomp and circumstances today, there are plenty of contentious issues. at the top of the list, the battle over raising the nation's debt ceiling. here's what the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said about that today. >> in a couple of months, the president will ask us to raise the nation's debt limit. we cannot agree to increase that borrowing limit without agreeing to reforms that lower the of a lampbl of spending that's creating this debt in the first place and in the past few weeks, if the past few weeks have taught us anything at all, that means the president needs to show up early this time. >> i spoke exclusively about all of this with a former white house chief of staff during the clinton administration erskine bowles. he was the co-sponsor of the so-called simpson/bowles plan to deal with debt relief.
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>> look, we shouldn't negotiate on the full faith and credit of the u.s. government. that is crazy. why would we want to put our u economy through that. we do have a sequester. we do have the end of a continuing resolution. we have lots of things coming up that will force us to make some of these tough decisions. the reality, wolf, is that what we have to do is make some of these tough decisions instead of talking about them. we do have to reform the tax code, broaden the base, simplify the code, reduce some of that back-door spending. we have to cut some of these entitlement programs in order to make social security sustain blee solvent. if we don't face up to these long-term problems and if we don't fix them and fix them soon, we're going to put our whole fiscal house in jeopardy. >> the full interview will air, by the way, in the next hour. joining us now to talk more
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about this historic day in washington is our chief political analyst gloria borger. the speaker of the house, he's under enormous pressure right now. >> enormous. >> especially since he voted with the minority of his party in favor of averting the fiscal cliff. >> speaker boehner has had a tough couple of weeks, wolf, when you look back on this. he didn't deliver a majority of his own party for the fiscal cliff, as you point out. two of his top lieutenants actually voted again him. so there were all of these stories, is there going to be an insur rex? of course, that did not occur. he's already put the white house on notice, i'm not going to negotiate directly with you guys anymore because of what happened the last time. so he has to figure out a way that his member can remain relevant without negotiating directly with the white house and try and get what he wants in the future. particularly when he's taking
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n knives out of his backpack. >> the president says he's not even going to negotiate on raising the debt ceiling. the republicans say he better. they are setting up a huge fight right now. >> they are. and look, this is what the republicans have going for them, reducing the size of government is rupture if, just like raising taxes on the wealthy was democratic turf. this is republican turf. it's popular. government is unpopular. people want to reduce spending. what the democrats have going for them and what the president believes he has going for him, the president says, okay, do you guys want to be responsible for shutting down the government? do you want to be responsible for us defaulting on our debt which people in this country believe is irresponsible? your public approval rating is, already, what, 12%, which i think is high for this congress? so the president believes he has the better part of that argument.
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the president is saying, the people are with us when it comes to government spending. >> you have a strong column on >> thank you. >> we have stacked the deck against ourselves even when we create a fiscal cliff as a way to force real, meaningful action, we choose to fail because in an odd way, failure is much easier to explain. just blame the other guy. success, on the other hand, comes with responsibility and no one wants that. so where do we end up going from here? >> well, that's the problem. we all want someone to blame, which is what we're doing here. and so republicans, you can blame them for their intrans ji dense on taxes, um blame the democrats for not doing any entitlement reform deduction. i believe you can blame the president for playing small ball when he should be playing a larger game there and maybe he will down the road. but if you actually succeed and were to do a big package and were to do tax reform, as people say they want to do, then you'd have to take responsibility for
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that. then you'd have to go home to the voters and say, i made the tough decisions. you might not like them but please vote for me again and members of congress are sort of afraid to do that, even though they have drawn congressional districts that almost guarantee their election. >> well, they've tried with that grand bargain, the simpsons bowles commission that would have averted some of these problems but the president didn't like it completely. paul ryan was part of it, and erskine bowles is joining us in the next hour. >> he thinks this deal was way too small. >> way too small. gloria, good to have you back. >> thank you. hillary clinton has a health scare days before she's supposed to testify in the benghazi attack. what will this mean for her legacy as a prospect of a presidential run in 2016? stand by. and are you better off not
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getting into a medical helicopter in an emergency? we're examining how safe they are after two more horrific crashes within a matter of hours. aww man. [ male announcer ] returns are easy with free pickup from the u.s. postal service. we'll even drop off boxes if you need them. visit pay, print, and have it picked up for free. any time of year. ♪ nice sweater. thank you. ♪
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certainly a sad day when anyone dies in a crash but it's especially tragic when it happens to people rushing to save the lives of others. a string of fatal accidents involving medal helicopters now raising the question, just how safe are they? brian todd has been looking into this question for us. brian is walking into "the situation room." brian, very worry some stuff. what are you learning? >> it is worrysome. two helicopter crashes in an eight-hour period yesterday.
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the first crash occurred midday near seminole, oak cla home la when a pilot crash landed in a field and all four crew members were injured in that crash but just eight hours later, 9:00 p.m. local time, a chopper responding to a call went down near ventura, iowa, killing all three members of the crew. neither of the helicopters had patients on board when it they went down. a rash of events a few years ago prompted the ntsb to focus on medical helicopters specifically and medical planes. the pressure to quickly respond in various conditions at night, in foul weather, they make those operations inherently dangerous. the safety board made 19 recommendations, including better pilot training, especially for inclement weather, nine vision systems, flight data recorders with
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regular reviews of the data. both aircraft yesterday were just a few years old each and we know that the pilot in the fatal crash in iowa did have access to height vision goggles and newer technology but did not have a flight data recorder, wolf. >> what do we know about the companies that operated these hol copterses? >> these were two large nationwide air medical operations. the first one, air methods corporation, that's the one involved in the oklahoma crash yesterday, that has some 300 aircraft. the company involved in the iowa crash, medtran, has about 60. we've reached out to both companies but have not heard back yet. the ffa and ntsb are investigating both of these incidents. the one involved in the oklahoma crash, according to ntsb, it's had 12 crashes since 2011 with 20 fatalities. that's a fairly significant record. >> fairly. that's awful. that's a pretty awful record. >> it certainly is. again, we've reached out to both
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companies for comment. we have not heard back yet. faa and ntsb investigating what happened yesterday. >> thank you, todd brian. i'd like you to stay on top of this for us. >> sure. the high-tech method the united states used to kill this guy. at a dry cleaner, we replaced people with a machine. what? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it? hello? hello?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7, you need an ally. hello? ally bank. your money needs an ally. i've always kept my eye on her... but with so much health care noise, i didn't always watch out for myself. with unitedhealthcare, i get personalized information and rewards for addressing my health risks. but she's still going to give me a heart attack. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
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a major taliban commander is killed in a suspected drone strike. scathe boldu amplt n is monitoring that. this is a big deal, kate. >> this is a big deal. there's a lot going on, wolf. it happened in fact stan's volatile tribal region. 15 people are dead from what appears to be two separate drone strikes. the slain taliban leader is believed to be behind a number of attacks that targeted u.s. military. we'll have a full report from cnn's foreign affairs reporter jill dougherty in the next hour. also, first bp paid a massive fine for its role in the 2010 gulf oil spill, and now deep horizon which triggered the
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worst spill in history will pay $1.4 billion and plead gill toe to the clean water act. bp paid in november. also, spam and peanut butter may not go together but they fall under the same corporate umbrella. hormel will buy skippy peanut butter. the deal should help where skip knee is the leading peanut butter and only trails jiff worldwide. this family no doubt will no doubt treasure this forever. that's a baby girl you're seeing still inside her mother's womb grabbing on to the doctor's finger. the proud father shared the story to our affiliate in phoenix. >> the doctor called me over and said, hey, she's grabbing my finger. i ran over there and grabbed the shot and i was just in awe
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looking at it. it was such an amazing picture. >> it just seems like it could be a small or very big miracle. the baby's name may have something to do with it. her name is navea, which is heaven spelled backwards. >> look how sweet that is. such a special, special moment. >> for that family. happy they shared with it us. >> i'm thrilled. thank you. >> yeah. if all of the leadership positions in both sides of the aisle look the same to you, it's because they are. should we expect anything different from this new congress than the last one? we'll assess. ari fleischer is standing by live for our strategy session. [ male announcer ] this is steve.
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it wasn't unanimous but john boehner certainly got plenty of votes to keep his speaker of the house position. he's had a very rough week. the republican congressman has been around long enough to know that it's nothing knnew and he t that be known in a blunt message to the new 113th congress. >> so if you've come here to see your name in the lights or pass off a political victory of some accomplishment, you've come to the wrong place. the door's right behind you. >> let's go to our strategy session. the democratic strategist paul begala -- i guess we can call him strategist, former press
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secretary to george w. bush, ari fleischer. i got to know you many years ago when you worked in the house of representatives. >> that's right. >> what do you think about the challenge that the speaker has right now. a lot were not happy on the way he operated on this fiscal cliff. >> wolf, thanks for the reminder of how old i am. i started working in the house 30 years ago this year. it's one of the hardest jobs in washington to be the speaker and particularly now because the republican majority is a shrunken majority. it's still a bigger majority than george bush enjoyed in the bush years but the majority has shrunk and the speaker is under pressure from those who are fed up with washington how it works and who want to cut spending and who came to washington to cut spending. the speaker is the one who, at the end of the day, has to reach an agreement with president obama while on his right flank has those republicans pressuring
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him to do everything in a republican way. >> knowing how a normal speaker and the house of representatives operates those two dozen or three dozens, whatever they were ren ga renegades, be do they get punished? will there be retaliation? what happens to them? >> i think at this point they get their mull lee began. they have their ideological point and i think one of the important things that i'm look for is now that senator reid has 55 democrats, he got reinforcements, will the senate pass the budget for the first time in four years? if the senate passes a budget and house passes a budget, that's how congress is supposed to work. when one body utterly fails to do their constitutional mission of passing a budget, that's one thing that leads to all of the breakdown and last-minute wrangling and the chaos.
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>> paul, nancy pelosi was re-elected as the leader in the house of representatives and although here, too, not completely a unanimous vote. listen to this exchange when they called the name of one democratic congressman of tennessee. >> cooper. colin powell. >> that was jim cooper of tennessee. you don't have to be a member of the house to be elected speaker so colin powell potentially could have gotten a few votes. what did that say to you, if anything, paul? >> it sounds like jim cooper doesn't like colin powell. ari is right, it's one of the toughest jobs in america to be the house speaker. democrats clearly p want nancy pelosi to continue leading them. the republicans want speaker boehner. yeah, there were a few dep senders but i've got to tell
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you, the house republicans that mr. boehner leads again is a failed state. the classic definition, the kinds of places like, you know, somalia and democratic republic of congo, the type of plateses that you like to report from, that's where the house republican conference is. i looked up the textbook definition, it's a collapse of central authority, check, and inability to receive collective decision making, check. inability to provide basic public services. well, sometimes they do. i don't give them a total pass on that. inability to deal with other states in the international community. in this sense, the senate or the white house. poor speaker boehner and it's not entirely his fault. he's presiding over a failed state and i don't see it getting any better. maybe that's why he was weeping today when nancy pelosi gave him the gavel. >> go ahead and respond to that, ari. >> actually, i think the house is the only thing keeping us
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from becoming a failed nation. everything would be done through tax increases on everybody where they could possibly find them and that's the last thing we possibly want to do. what is stopping them from cutting government so we don't put all of these burdens on our children? the democratic house and the senate. >> am i the only one -- i'll go to you, paul, first, who is impressed that the 112th congress on the senate and house side ended with bipartisanship lopsided majority votes in favor of legislation to avert that fiscal can cliff? >> well, i think that is impressive but it was impressive how each party dealt with it. in the senate, which is unfairly ma lining. by the way, i worked in the house, too, and i worked for a senator as well. i've got experience on both sides. the senate got 89 out of its 100 -- i guess it's 98 at the time.
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89 of the 98 senators to agree on a very difficult, very important piece of debt reduction. that's how washington ought to work. i don't like that it was at the last minute and so forth. the house side, the speaker took the unusual step of voting for a piece of legislation. rarely done. speakers do it. the house speaker majority paul ryan voted for it and yet two-thirds of their conference voted against their speaker. thank god the democrats were there to actually form a bipartisan coalition and put this thing through. nancy pelosi was more responsible for passing this than john boehner. >> wolf, you've got to remember, the debt limit increase in 2011, half voted against president obama on that because it was spending cuts. i think this is a sign of the times that we're in. both parties are going to split over this issue and really what's happening, step back, our debt is so big, our deficits are
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so big, they are going to force tough choices on everybody and you're not going to get many easy, good votes out of congress because the issues that they finally have to start wran gelg with are massive. how do you deal with trillion dollar deficits? that's how you save the next generation. so don't pass our problems to them. >> like i said, bush administration official talking about debt is like ben and jerry's talking about obesity. it was your boss and his policies. now you're going to blame president and the democrats -- >> the democrats can't complain about the very things that they keep extending and doing. the president was continuing the war in afghanistan and not paying for it. >> he's winding it down. >> the president's going to provide relief for sandy victims without paying for it. the president's continuing the bush tax cuts without paying for it. so i think it's the time now to solve the trillion dollar deficit problems that both parties have created rather than complaining or finger pointing and that's why it's going to be so difficult.
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>> paul, hold your fire. we have more to discuss and neither one of you is going away. we're going to have more to discuss, including the secretary of state, hillary clinton. she may be back in her office as early as next week after that dramatic blood clot scare. up next, what it could mean for her legacy. talk about running for president in 2016. paul and ari, they are standing by live. stop! stop! stop! come back here! humans -- we are beautifully imperfect creatures
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we're just learning from secretary of state hillary clinton's office that she's dialed into a meeting today from her home. could be back to work as soon as next week. she was discharged yesterday from a new york city hospital where she was being treated for a potentially dangerous blood clot in her head. it all makes for a surprising and dramatic twist in the ending of her tenure as the country's top diplomat. let's bring back kate. she's got more details on what is going on. goes without saying, we're thrilled that she's out of the hospital, she's home, she's beginning to get back into action a little bit. >> of course, everyone is looking ahead, wolf f the end of 2012 was set to be mark by hillary clinton's farewell tour. things have clearly changed
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leaving many to wonder with what lasting impact. after logging more than 950,000 miles, visiting 112 countries, hifrl clinton is known for keeping a grueling schedule and enjoys something rarely seen anymore in politics, a huge approval rating. close to 70% in early december. >> she is tireless and extraordinary. >> it seemed certain the secretary would end her tenure on a high note but the closing chapter of her post has turned into anything but a fond farewell. illness, a concussion, and most recently a blood clot has side lined clinton for more than three weeks. >> she is talking to staff. she is taking paper at home. she sounds terrific. she's looking forward to coming back to work next week. >> and she still faces tough questions about the september 11th attack on the mission in benghazi, which threatens to leave a lasting stain on her three-decades long career. clinton told cnn back in october
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it's a disaster she takes responsibility for. >> i'm in charge of the state department, 60,000 plus people all over the w0rorld, 275 posts all over the world. the president and vice president certainly would not be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. >> beyond leaving a mark on her legacy, that attack and continuing violence in the middle east, especially syria, now become unfinished business. the secretary may leave behind. >> it can't be ending on a high but i think it's part of a broad are piece. this isn't a slam-dunk world. there were only, as i've described elsewhere, migraines or root kacanals. >> as she moves into the next chapter of her life and possibly a 2016 bid, a real question is whether unfinished business might become political baggage. >> her challenge is not going to
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be that americans are looking back saying, how come you didn't fix syria or how come the mullahs haven't given up their quest for a weapon, the quest is going to be can you have another 4 to 8 years of democratic rule after the last eight. >> and still she is hugely popular, both here and abroad. when asked today about the number of goodwill, get well messages, secretary has received since her illness, the states department spokesman called the list of messages a tsunami of get well messages. >> not surprised. she's been very popular. i've traveled with her on one trip to cairo, tunisia. she never stops. >> look at the miles she's logged. >> let's hope she comes out of this in perfect shape. thank you very much. let's go back to paul begala and ari fleischer.
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you worked with the secretary of state when she was first lady of the united states. this is not necessarily the best way she wanted to end those four years as secretary of state. >> no, but i think particularly in kate's piece, it's impressive how she has taken responsibility for what went wrong in benghazi. she didn't wait for congress which should and will will look into this as part of congress' duties, and led by mike mullen and that was really tough on a state department, on the government in which she serves. that shows real character. it can't be anybody's standards that nothing goes wrong when you're secretary of state, like she said, 260,00060,000 pleas. obviously we all hope that she feels better soon but i think
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she's going out having been one of the most accomplished and beloved secretary of states that we've had. >> i have no doubt, ari, if she's healthy and able she's looking forward to testifying what happened in benghazi and wrapping up her tenure with that testimony. >> well, don't know that anybody looks forward to testifying before congress but she is very capable and very able and i think she owes to it the country, as paul pointed out, she took responsibility for what took place and people want to know. people died and we have a reasonable explanation that our diplomats can be protected when they go abroad and things go wrong, they owe the public a very upfront explanation. so if that's coming up, she'll deal with it and that's her style. i think she would deal with it. i do accept absolutely that she hasn't in the past because of her illness and hopefully 1450e8 be able to recover and testify. >> you know, my sense has always been, assuming she is emerging
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from this blood clot and the concussion in excellent shape and she's strong, healthy, ari, be how formidable of a presidential candidate would she be in 2016? >> well, you know, wolf, i think everybody except for a few smart souls in chicago thought she was unbeatable in 2008. 2016, i think you'd have to stay that she would emerge as the front-runner for the democratic party. but frankly, at the end of the day, i think she's not going to do it. i think it's a lifestyle choice, a lifestyle issue. i think after all of the years that she's been in public life, she's entitled to relax and enjoy the good things of life. i don't know that she wants the burden. if she could get promised that she would not have to go through primaries and the primary process, she might want to do it and take on the republican but to go through all of the primaries again and pancake eating in iowa, that's a lot to impose on somebody again. >> paul, what do you think? >> first off, nobody gives these
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things away and nor should they. she wanted to be a president. close to any woman has come to our top job in the country. she p wasn't wild about being secretary of state. she loved being senator of new york. and served it wonderfully. i have no idea. i think the last thing she needs is another headache and certainly not one from me. i'd give her a couple weeks, let her recover from this serious injury, more than just a bump on the head but let her recover from that. let her take a little time to figure this out. i travel the country a lot. i talk to democrats everywhere and she is a beloved figure from everybody who supported her last time and then who supported then senator obama last time. she would be incredibly formidable but she will not be unopposed, i can tell you that. >> we'll be talking about this subject a lot. thanks very much. paul and ari, appreciate it.
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the colorado movie theater that was the scene of this summer's deadly shooting massacre is about to reopen and the family members of the victims are outraged because of a letter. we're going to share with you the details. what's in your ear? oooo! a quarter! check for more! well, i guess i can double check... my watch! [ male announcer ] it pays to double check, with state farm.
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to newtown, connecticut, right now and a huge milestone for the students and teachers of sandy hook elementary school. they are returning to school since the horrifying massacre nearly three weeks ago. deborah feyerick is there. how did this first day go? >> reporter: you know, wolf, there was a lot of anxiety, a lot of concern heading into today. the teachers from sandy hook elementary school and staff and even staff and officials from monroe, connecticut, which is the area that helps them, the teachers really pulled off a miracle. they were able to transform this old school that had not been used for about two years and they turned it into a place that was very familiar to all these kids and breathing new light into that school, they breathed new light into a community. the teachers greeted everyone at the school. one mom said it felt like the
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first day of school all over again. some kindergartners had circle time and what they did. the fourth graders went on a scavenger hunt and explored the building because it's a brand-new building and they want to know where the art room was as well as the gymnasium. but the teachers and everyone here today, they did what people three weeks ago would not have imagined possible and that is, they restored normalcy. take a listen. >> they took the bus. so we had the normal routine of giving them breakfast and their backpacks packed and then they went out, we went out and waited for the bus and then as soon as the bus came, they didn't even look back. it was, bye, guys, and they ran on to the bus. they were able to pick their seats because now they are the first picked up versus the last and they were excited by it. i went to school after that and i met them -- i actually got
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there before they did. they came through the door and saw me and we were very excited that i was there and walked me up to their classrooms. >> reporter: what was that like, in terms of the building, the activities? describe what that was like? >> they were trying to do that as normal as possible but not doing a lot of education. more social. arts and crafts and doing scavenger-type hunts on their floor so they could get to know where things were. making things adventurous and fun for them. >> there were some emotional moments in the beginning of the day but i think once everyone got there and the way the school was all set and ready and everybody that was there with support, you kobt walk around the corner without someone asking if you were okay. i think that made everyone feel at ease. >> reporter: did you, by any chance, see any of the siblings of the 20 some. >> no, i did not see any of them. >> okay.
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abby, when you go back to school, it's a new school but you think the school is going to be okay? >> yes. >> reporter: yeah? are you nervous anymore? >> no. >> reporter: do you think you want your mom to come together or do you think you'll be okay? >> i think i'll be okay. >> reporter: i think that really sums it up. i think i'll be okay. that's what a lot of kids were thinking. one little boy i spoke to said he wants to take the school mascot -- he wants to turn the turtle into the school mascot and the motto should be, one sfep at a time. today was a really good day, wolf. >> one step at a time is good slogan. my heart goes out to all of them. i wish them only the best. deborah feyerick, thanks. in aurora, colorado, be controversial and shock of the movie theater reopening were dozens were killed last summer. charging an invi facial to attend this special event is nothing short, in their words,
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of disgusting. here's cnn's jim spell manman. >> wolf, plans to reopen is infuriating some of the family members of those killed in the shooting back in july. they've been invited to a special private screening a day before the public reopening. the families say they are not going to go. they feel that this is a crass way for the theater to use them to create good pr. not only will they not go to the screening, they say they plan on boycotting that theater and all cinemar theaters across the country. this is jessica watts. her cousin was killed in the shooting. >> we don't have the time to grief like we need to and they throw this at us and basically how we view it is that they are looking to boost their own ticket sales for their grand reopening to the public.
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we're trying to move on and trying to remember our loved ones and the last thing that we want to do is go and sit in a movie theater where our loved ones died. because they paid the final ticket price. >> cinemark declined to comment. some are urging others to go to the theaters and remember their loved ones. for those joining in the boy scout, they say the theater is too much of a reminder of what happened there back in july and they'd like to see the theater torn down. wolf? >> jim spellman, thank you. outrage over an alleged rape made into a joke. up next, the chilling details of a case involving two high school football players and a 16-year-old girl.
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[heart beating] [heartbeat continues]
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[heartbeat, music playing louder] ♪ i'm feeling better since you know me... ♪ announcer: this song was created with heartbeats of children in need. find out how it can help frontline health workers bring hope to millions of children at
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a correction to a story we brought you a while ago. the medical helicopter crashes. according to the ntsb, the national transportation board, air methods corporation, the company involved in the crash in oklahoma yesterday has had 12 crashes since 2007. 2007 with 20 deaths.
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showing video social media messages are at the heart of criminal charges against two ohio high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old girl. cnn national correspondent susan candiotti is joining us with details of what is going on. what are you learning, susan? >> wolf, two star high school athletes face horrific allegations, that they raped a 16-year-old girl during parties to celebrate the end of summer last august in stub benville, ohio. the two teenagers face charges in juvenile court there next month. an attorney says his client and alleged victim were boyfriend and girlfriend and his cli wrent, in his words, did not rape anyone. his client is also charged with taking a nude photo or photo of a minor. but what makes this case stand out is an explosion of chatter about this on social media and even more so than that, wolf, is all of the charges in the media
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that people are talking about this. we also wanted to tell you that there is also a videotape that we can play for you if we have it. that's been playing online, taken down and put back on where they are talking about this on social media. >> what if that was your daughter? >> but it isn't. >> what if it was? >> if that was my daughter, i wouldn't care. i would just let her be dead. >> listen to yourself. >> i'm listening to myself fine. >> in about ten years i'm going to come back. >> ten years. my daughter's going to be getting raped and dead in ten years. >> now, that continues for about 12 minutes. he goes on to make offensive one-line comments about rape and talks about the girl as if she was dead, which she isn't. attorney owe -- ohio's attorney general has been made aware of this video but says it is not a crime to be stupid. police in part found out pieces
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of the alleged rape and tweets and being carried seemingly limp by her arms and legs and an online video of young people callously laughing about it, wolf. >> what is it that we know about the alleged victim's condition at the time of the incident? >> that's a key point of contention. was she able to or did she consent to any alleged sexual activity? in open court prosecutors say the two boys treated her, quote, like a toy and said, quote, the bottom line is, we don't have to prove that she said no. we just have to prove that when they are doing things to her she's not moving. she's not responsive. and the evidence is consistent and clear, end quote. however, a defense attorney for one of the accused teens says consent is one of the things he'll argue over at trial. his client is under house arrest until then z what about others that might be involved here? >> ohio's attorney general mike
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dawine says the investigation is not over. authorities are still conducting interviews and he expects to close the case in a few weeks. >> pretty shocking stuff. susan candiotti, thank you for that report. a very emotional day for senator mark kirk of illinois. he triumphantly returned to work today one year, one year after suffering a debilitating stroke. >> welcome back. >> yeah. [ applause ] that's vice president joe biden and dick durbin greeting him on the stairs of the capitol, helping him walk the rest of the way up. dozens of senators cheered him on as he made his way up. senator kirk participated in intensive walking studies as part of his physical therapy. he basically had to relearn how to walk after suffering a severe
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stroke on the right side of his brain last year. in july he said, he quote, walked an average of 3,677 steps per day. and you're in the situation room. the new congress is sworn in. newcomers are ready to do battle but can they avoid the gridlock of the last congress? i'll talk to one of the architects of a bipartisan fiscal reform plan, exclusive conversation with erskine bowles. that's coming up. al jazeera and buying american public opinion. we'll take you inside the white house with just released official photographs of the obama presidency. we have glimpses of history you haven't seen before. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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we begin this hour with 113th congress that was sworn in today right here in washington. you'd think it wouldn't take much to out do the record of the approval rating of the previous congress but the 113th will be more diverse and perhaps even more partisan than before. and with some incredibly tough and contentious issues to solve, the battle lines are already being drawn. jim acosta is walking into "the situation room." he's got a closer look. you've been studying this new senate and house. what do you see? >> some things have not changed. john boehner is still speaker of the house but there are plenty of new faces on capitol hill and some of them have come ready for a filt. the nully sworn in 113th congress is so diverse it's
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redefining the term laid he dos of the house. there are more women than ever before, roughly 100. add that to the approximately 43 african-americans, 31 latinos, 12 asians and seven guy and bisexuals and even the politicians have taken notice. >> it means that we reflect america more. the district where i come is a very diverse congress and it's nice to see congress looking more like america. >> but some things will stay the same. john boehner defied gop objection to remain speaker and the famously emotional ohio republican welled up with tears. >> the american dream is in peril so long as its namesake is weighed down by this anchor of debt. break its hold and we will set our economy free.
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>> that will be no easy task with so many moderates gone from the senate. and some of their places, more partisans, like democrat elizabeth warren. >> do you think both sides can work together up here? >> i hope so. i really hope so. >> the banking industry critic will be a hero to liberals. >> there are people who sat in that senate who will do anything to stop her and to stop the kinds of consumer protections that she was fighting for and now she's a colleague and now they are going to have to yield the floor. >> on the other side of the aisle, tea-party backed ted krucruz signaled that he's going to be fighting for conservatism, not compromise. >> i think it was a lousy deal t raised taxes by $620 billion, which is going to hurt the economy and kill jobs. >> his party is already feeling feisty on the next battle to come, whether to raise the
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nation's debt ceiling. >> we cannot agree to increase that borrowing limit without agreeing to reforms that lower the avalanche of spending that's creating this debt in the first place. >> the last congress was not just unpopular, it was unproductive passing the few west number of laws in at least 40 years. that's why a lot of americans are hoping that the 113th is the do something congress. >> some conservatives say that's good. the less congress does, the better off american people are. >> the 112th could not have been more unpopular. the 113th does not have a tough act to follow. >> jim acosta, thank you very much. you're going to be a busy guy. still on vacation in hawaii, is he mulling over choices to fill some very important second term vacancies? let's go to honolulu where dan lothian is standing by. what are you hearing about some
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of those opened positions, dan? >> reporter: first of all, wolf, administration official telling me that there's no plans for the president to make any cabinet announcements while here on vacation though it's possible although not definite when he returns to washington next week. these are key positions that need to be filled and some of the nominations could face stiff opposition. cnn has learned chuck hagel whose prospects had appeared to be dimming amid criticism from pro-israel groups and guy organization zagss over past comments is still in the game. close friend, former senator max cleland said, i understand his nomination is back on the table and i believe very strongly he should be defense secretary. a strong endorsement that the president is not yet ready to make but recently on nbc's meet the press did not count him out. >> my number one criteria is going to be who is going to do the best job in helping to secure america.
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>> and any plans of disqualifying him? >> not that i see. >> reporter: exposed to harsh scrutiny. >> anyone with any record of involvement in controversial issues will always mobilize against the would-be appointee of accusations and sometimes distortions. >> reporter: if not hagel, michelle flournoy remains in the mix. timothy geithner plans to leave sometime around inauguration. one name floated american ex be press kenneth chenault has no plans to leave that company. white house chief of staff jack lew is considered to be another choice for that job. and john brennan and acting cia director michael morell remain on the short list. history shows most presidents get the nominees they want but
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in this political environment, there's no guarantee. >> it used to just be supreme court justices who inspire these sort of partisan free for alls. now it's bleeding down into a cabinet pick as well. >> reporter: the president has already made one choice for secretary of state, senator john kerry for that position. he's expected to have a smooth confirmation. i did talk to a senior administration official, asked him if the president had already settled on names for all of those positions but just not made them public. this official telling me, quote, no decision is final. wolf. >> >> dalothian in hawaii for us. let's dig deeper. the politics behind philly. our sister publication "time" magazine takes a closer look at that. michael crowley is joining us here in "the situation room." thanks for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. >> it's never completely easy getting confirmation.
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you nominate someone, getting them confirmed. it looks like it's going to be a little tougher for this second term for president obama in certain key positions. >> yes, it is. and i think you have to look no further than what happened to susan rice who was obama's choice for secretary of state before he nominated john kerry. her nomination was never submitted. she was shot down before obama was able to officially tap her. it's a combination of extreme partisan climate that we are in. we've just come out of a heated presidential election. we have these fights over the budget. and on the other hand, the republicans in the senate are exercising their ability to filibuster and block up nominations to unprecedented degrees, according to a lot of experts who have followed washington and congress for decades. >> your colleague has a strong piece in the new issue of "time" in which he says, among other things, obama's second term is shaping up to be full of nonstop, overt partisan war fare. shol lars say the modern gop has
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taken the confirmation process to new extremes. go ahead and elaborate. >> these are powers that have always been there but the norms in washington are changing. people are more aggressive about exercising powers they have. there's just a little bit less of politeness, a little bit less of, this is the decorum. people are saying, where is our leverage and how can we maximize it? it's just a very tense partisan atmosphere. we just came out of this election. there's a lot of bitterness over that. they are fighting over the budget and also i think that there is evidence that republicans in congress are more conservative than they were, thanks to a lot of backers, including the way primaries are working out on the republican side. more conservatives have a stomach for the fight. they are not interested in deferring to the president to let him choose his team of advisers, which is kind of a long-standing washington point of etiquette which has gone out the window now. >> one area is a sensitive issue
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that wasn't tackled during the first term, comprehensive immigration reform. the president clearly wants to do something this year. there are some republicans, be marco rubio, for example, he looks to be ready to cooperate. lindsey graham of south carolina. do you think they are going to get something done? i remember the bush administration trying to work with senator kennedy, senator mccain couldn't do it then. >> i'm a skeptic, i might be too skeptical. my prediction is not worth much more than anyone else's. but the reason i'm skeptical is the passion about immigration within the republican base, that i've seen personally and you probably have as well, in any travels on the campaign trail, republicans, there was no issue that infuriated like the immigration. the rhetoric that they used. i was at a town hall forum where someone threatened to shoot people coming across the board. there was so much anger. i haven't heard conservatives
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say that the party is waking up they may be making it easier for republicans to make a deal. >> don't you think they want to reach out to the hispanic community and demonstrate that they are not simply walking away completely from them? >> that's right. that's the bind they face. i just think that the base is not there yet. the republicans who vote in primaries, who will be voting in the midterm primaries as we go into the midterm congressional elections and will shape the next presidential primary, they are not there yet. in my personal and anecdotal experience. the party has got to find a way to bring them around and i haven't seen that. >> michael crowley, thank you. the white house fell well short of what they had to do. >> we had a chance for our generation to do something big, to put our fiscal house in order, and we absolutely blew it. >> my exclusive interview with
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erskine bowles, the former co-chairman of the simpson/bowles commission on the cliffs that are ahead. and a top taliban commander killed in u.s. drone strike. why the pakistanis right now are furious.
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for a top taliban commander linked to u.s. troops death came from the sky suddenly without warning. the drone strike which killed several militants in pakistan's rugged tribal area is causing new controversy. jill dougherty has details for us. what's going on some. >> wolf, u.s. official now is
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confirming the death of that key warlord. he is not saying how he died but he does say that he and his men were directly responsible for planning and carrying out cross border attacks on coalition forces in afghanistan as well as providing protection for al qaeda forces in pakistan. pakistani intelligence officials tell cnn what they believe was a u.s. drone has killed a key pakistani taliban commander in south waziristan. pakistani warlord who sent his men to afghanistan to fight u.s. and nato troops. the pentagon is not confirming his death but senior officials are calling reports that he died a major development. nazeer, they say, had a lot of blood on his hands. george little, pemt gone spokesman said, any time a bad guy has a bad day, it's a good
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day for us. but in pakistan, fury over the killing. a man who played both sides. >> he was one of the top commanders of the taliban. he did a peace deal with the pakistani government. so he wasn't regarded as an enemy of the pakistani state but he was certainly sending taliban in. >> questions about the drone strikes brought the usual kurt response. >> again, i'm not going to talk about intelligence issues at all from this podium. >> but the state department has had to deal with fallouts from previous strikes that have angered pakistan. nevertheless, the two countries have been on the mend. the killing came even as ambassador to the u.s. shari raymond discussed economic initiatives with the two countries with a top official. and a u.s. official says while
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it's still too soon to tell, the death of nazeer along with his deputies could push it into disarray and degrade access to south waziristan. >> jill, thank you. meanwhile, stunning travel plans in the works. sources telling me that the google chairman, eric schmidt, will be traveling to north korea. but could google be trying to expand its empire? the state department isn't too pleased. the spokeswoman, victoria, had this ex schang. >> frankly, we don't think the timing of this is particularly helpful but they are private citizens and making their own decisions. >> why don't you think the timing is helpful? >> well, be in light of the recent actions of the dpkk.
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>> did you he can press that to them, that the timing was not right? >> they are well aware of our views. >> the gubernatorial chairman eric schmidt will travel with bill richardson who has made a number of humanitarian trips to north korea. sources also tell me that they believe richardson will try to get the release of an american prisoner captured last month in north korea. i traveled with governor richardson to north korea two years ago back in december 2010. one of the major battles here in washington will be over the debt ceiling. i'll talk about that and more with erskine bowles. he's firm on where democrats and republicans should not be looking for a fight. >> we shouldn't negotiate on the full faith and credit of the
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u.s. government that. is crazy. uppies. or you could watch the earnings report and take notes, like we're supposed to. or you can make it look like me and paul from accounting are dancing, look. or you could be doing some work and some other kinds of work. or you could draw a picture of you sitting at your desk, look. i'm mike, i'm working. or you could get fired. and i'm boring. you know when it's all done, you can share it instantly. so... can i get it? yeah. okay either of you put together the earnings report yet? yes, me totally. 100%. what? you're fast. why don't you tackle the next quarter and um, you eat yet? polynesian? pu pu platter? yes! keep up the good work. i will keep up the good work. do more with the new samsung galaxy note ii. for a limited time get two flipcovers for the price of one. exclusively at verizon.
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a deadly car bombing in iraq stirring violence. kate bolduan has the latest.
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>> at least 15 people were killed and dozens were injured when the bomb went off at a bus station filled with religious pilgrims. it happened less than 50 miles south of baghdad. the bombing comes from protests of sunni. a very different story. actor gerard depardieu joked that putin sent him a passport but it may be true. he says he paid 85% of his income in tacks. now putin is offering him citizenship if he wants it along with a 13% flat income tax rate that comes with it. and president obama was some 5,000 miles away in hawaii,
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enter the auto pen. the president reviewed a digital copy of the bill and aides used the auto pen to put his signature on it rather than commissioning a special flight to send a hard copy of it to hawaii. inauguration day for president obama is less than three weeks away and unless you want something to celebrate with the inauguration store is opened just for you. looking at some of the online stores is, quote, essentials of buttons for $5, obama tube socks will keep you warm and a medallion set for $7500. i know you will be getting a -- >> what about an auto pen? an inaugural auto pen? >> i think those are limited supply. i'm not often nen hawaii so you don't have to auto pen me. >> okay. thank you. after the fiscal cliff, a bigger cliff. the debt ceiling fight.
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>> for god's sake, i wouldn't wait until the last minute. we've had enough of this bring brinkmanship, moving from crisis to crisis. >> erskine bowles headed the panel that tried to head off this entire crisis.
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congress went to the 111th hour and way beyond to keep the country from going over the fiscal cliff. that tax agreement was signed into law today but more cliffs lie ahead, including the very dangerous problem of raising the u.s. debt ceiling. erskine bowles is joining us right now. he's the co-founder of the
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organization called fix the debt, which is obviously something very important. former white house chief of staff under president bill clinton and the co-sponsor of the simpson/bowles commission designed to deal with debt relief and deficit reduction. erskine bowles, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. glad to be with you. >> first of all, had you been a member of the house or the senate, how would you have voted for the fiscal relief legislation? >> look, i would have voted for it. you know, i think going over the cliff would have been an economic disaster for the country. it was too much too quick, too abruptly and if you look at the cuts that were, you know, in the sequester, they are all in the discretionary items. none of them deal with the items to slow the rate of growth and that's the entitlement programs
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and it did generate a little bit of revenue for the country, about $600 billion worth. i would have voted for it. it was a step in the right direction but for sure, wolf, it was a missed opportunity. i've called this the magic moment, you know, where we had a chance for our generation to do something big, to put our fiscal house in order, and we absolutely blew it. >> in the next few weeks, as you well know, there will be at least three crisis points coming up raising the nation's debt ceiling dealing with what's called that sequestration, the automatic spending cuts and domestic spending and national security spending. also, continuing resolution to keep the government operating. how would you deal with those crisis points in order to deal with what you want, which is the big picture and really getting to the bottom of this whole issue? >> for god's sake, i would not wait until the last minute. we've had enough of moving from
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crisis to crisis. that is a foolish way for any organization, small or large, much less the u.s. government, the largest economy in the world to run its organization. here's what we've got to do. we've got to make the tough decisions. we're only halfway there with things that we have to do. we've got to make sure that we reform our tax code, we've got to broaden the base, simplify the code, get rid of the backdoor spending. we've got to slow the growth of the entitlement programs, particularly health care. if we don't slow the rate of health care, it will absolutely bankrupt the country. finally, we've got to make social security sustainably solvent. this is what we have to deal with if we're going to get it on a downward path. these guys have got to start working together. they've got to put the ultra
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partisan politics aside and deal with these really big issues. >> but you know washington right now, it's very dysfunctional, despite the last-minute deal on the fiscal cliff and there was bipartisanship at the very, very end. it looks like they only want to deal with what we call small ball. they are not ready to deal with that big puck tur picture unless you see something that i'm not seeing. >> i see what you said. there is great uncertainty. the markets are going to react at some point in time and we've got severely to the lack of knowledge of what is going to go on, the uncertainty. we do have a debt ceiling coming up. we do have a budget coming up. you know, we do have this sequester coming up. all of that creates great uncertainty. and what these guys have got to do is start acting like grownups and they've got to start negotiating, just like, i might add, we did in the 1990s when president clinton actually sat
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down and negotiated with newt gingrich and trent lott. people say partisanship is so much worse today than it was back then. hell, back then, they were trying to impeach the president. you've got to put that partisanship aside and work together. >> when it comes to the so-called debt ceiling, it's going to be raised by the end of february, early march, listen to the president. >> if congress suggests that they are going to tie it to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation, which, by the way, we have never done in our history until we did this last year, i will not play that game. >> he says he won't play that game but republicans are saying
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they are only going to raise the debt ceiling if there's an equal amount of spending cuts accompanying the raising of the debt ceiling. he says he's not going to play that game. will he have any choice? >> look, that's the brinkmanship that i'm talking b why would we want to put our economy through that? but there are lots of things that we can negotiate on. we do have the sequester. we do have the end of a continuing resolution. we have lots of things coming up that will force us to make some of these tough decisions. >> here's what mitch mcconnell wrote in an op-ed on yahoo! hughes. he's the republican leader in the senate. predict blee the president is already claiming that his tax hike on the rich is not enough. the moment that he and virtually every elected democrat in washington signed off on the current arrangement, it was the last word on taxes.
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that debate is over. what he's saying is, it's now all about spending cuts, no more discussion of taxes for all practical purposes. no more increases in tacks. it's all spending cuts. do you agree with mitch mcconnell on that? >> i actually don't. i think the primary focus has to be on spending cuts. you know, we have got to slow the growth of health care and we've got to do more in the discretionary front. there's lots of work to be done on the spending side and we haven't had enough discussion cans on that to date. >> would you like to be the treasury secretary? >> no. >> that's a pretty blunt answer. you've seen your name floated out there as a possible successor to timothy geithner. >> and the reason i say that is, look, i'm 67 years old.
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i've been gone from home for over a dozen years doing various public service things and i've got nine grandchildren under 7. >> how disappointed were you that the president rejected the simpson/bowles recommendations? >> well, look, i was disappointed at the time but i came to understand that what he was doing was his goal was to use it as a framework for his discussions that he he had with he felt that was a way to be successful. if right, he would have been a political genius. unfortunately, he he wasn't. they didn't get a deal done. i was disapril pointed. >> i think that was an historic
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moment. i know you worked hard on it with your commission. it was clearly a missed opportunity, at least with hindsight and i know you agree. >> and we've got to keep working on it. our generation, wolf, yours and mine, we're the ones that created this fiscal mess. i don't care whether you're a republican or democrat. it's our responsibility to clean it up. we can't leave this until the next generation. >> erskine bowles, thanks for all that you have done. thank senator simpson as well and keep in touch. >> i sure will. good to talk to you. al jazeera making a major move for more viewers here in the united states. the purchase and the story behind this rare moment captured by a white house photographer. we're going behind the scenes in the oval office. ughout our live. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multivitamin
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snoof the tv network al jazeera has bought a foothold here in the united states. it announced it will purchase al gore tv on a channel guide of 40
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million homes here in the united states. gore co-founder put out a statement saying, among other things, al jazeera has the same goalless and, like current, believes to a better understanding of the world around us. let's discuss this with brian stelter and tv can correspondent, howard kurtz, washington correspondent for "newsweek" and "the daily beast." tell us, why does al jazeera want current tv? >> they have been trying and failing for years to get on television here in the united states. it's like a cliff that they are industrying to climb up and eventually they decided they had to buy in by buying current tv. >> you have an important and interesting nugget in your report. >> for the days leading up to new year's eve, al gore and his team tried to get the deal done
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because higher tacks were goita going into effect. they were trying to avoid the tax rates. >> you study the media. you've been watching what is going on. why does al jazeera really want to have a foothold on the american media market? they already have al jazeera in english as well as in arabic which is popular around the arab world? >> wolf, i note the essential weirdness of a former candidate of united states selling his network to a foreign network. al jazeera english, which has actually won praise np recent years for it is international reporting, including among others from hillary clinton, wants to reach the big and lucrative american market. it faces an uphill climb for two reasons. can it draw enough ratings that time-warner cable is going to
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want to keep it on? they have already said no and can it deal with an image problem when it was battling the bush administration during the war on terror where some people thought the parent network had an anti-america tone. >> brian, you talk about the al jazeera effect. you say there are still people who will not watch it. who will say that it's a terrorist network. how much of a problem will this be for the new owners of the current tv, whatever format they decide to go with? >> the only journalist ever detained at gaun bay was an al jazeera cameraman. it's subsiding. al jazeera will have a battle. they are getting hate mail from some viewers who don't want to see it on their cable lineups.
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but money can change a lot of these kinds of problems and they have a lot of money. they can put a lot into promoting the image of it. >> i know al gore and joel hyatt tried to make it a major player. keith observe better man working there for a while. it hasn't exactly worked out the way they wanted. why? >> it's an extraordinarily low-rated channel, wolf. it didn't have a clear rating. it decided to do more politics and the deal with keith olberman blew up. although it looks like al gore will make a substantial amount of money on this sale, from a critical point of view and even influencing the national conversation, current tv never got it done. >> do you think those shows will stay under the al jazeera,
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jennifer granholm, a whole bunch of other shows? >> it's kind of amazing to look at 40,000 viewers watching. there are local stations in memphis and toledo that get higher ratings than that. i think some of the hosts might possibly but it's unlikely. for the most part, al jazeera is buying this for the real estate, because it's beach front real estate but not for the house or the houses around it. >> a lot will depend on how much appetite there is in the american market for international news. a lot of these organizations have cut back on that. they think americans are mainly interested in what is going on there at home. >> al gore and joel hyatt may have had money but it's nothing compared to what qatar has. they are getting ready to host the world cup soccer games in qatar. they've got a ton of money over there. if they want to start spending a
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ton of money, they could probably build current into a major player. >> i think that's right. in some ways we're entering into new golden age of national news coverage. we don't know if anybody wants to watch that but look at the players, the bbc and russia and china that is making inroads and here comes qatar. now the front of the pack because it has more homes than anybody else. they would all like to compete with each other and frankly with cnn and other news cable channels. but it's really unclear if anybody want to watch those channels. >> well, we'll see what happens. you have a lot of money, you could buy a lot of personalities, you could do some stuff. i know for a fact that the amir want to be players not only in the persian gulf, internationally including right here in the united states. these are very ambitious folks. we'll see what they have to do. i'm just guessing that you'll have much more on this coming up
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on "reliable stories," is that correct? >> that's correct. >> 11:00 a.m. eastern. thank you very much, howard and brian. a glimpse of history that you haven't seen before. we're showing you just released photographs of the obama presidency. you're going to want to see these. stay in the situation room. >> i don't sit down with an idea. i try to free my mind from distractions and then it wanders to problems. i try to be creative and i try to relax and do things that make me feel differently. travel is wonderful. putting myself in uncomfortable positions is a great way to generate ideas. this is about 2300 degrees farenheit. it's very hard to shape glass. it takes years of practice. it's difficult. every time i come into the studio i've got some sort of new challenge and it's something that i'd like to learn how to do better and the material never disapril points me. my job is to basically shape it
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and balance it at the same time. if you do that, you get these wonderful shapes. glass really rewards risk. >> jim is sort of this renaissance guy. whatever he tries to do, he does exceedingly well. he perfects. he also has a gift for music, has a gift for art or more than a gift of passion. ♪ [ male announcer ] don't just reject convention. drown it out. introducing the all-new 2013 lexus ls f sport. an entirely new pursuit.
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. let's go behind the scenes right now at the white house. through official photographs of the obama presidency that have just been released today, some show glimpses of history we haven't seen before. joining us now is the former white house aide jen sake. thanks very much for coming. i love these pictures. >> they are great. >> this is one in the white house december 28thth, 2012, re early from christmas vacation,
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the president met with his top leadership to discuss the fiscal cliff. >> well, the body language tells you everything you need to know about this photo. you can imagine the president saying something like, on one hand, we could do this, or on the other hand, we could do that. if only there were thought bubbles, we would know where they would prefer to be, than in this room. >> you see the republican leadership over there on the couch, the democratic -- >> on the right, the democratic -- >> and in the middle -- always in the oval office. >> take a look at the next picture. we'll put it up, show it to our viewers. the president reacts as john brennan, his counterterrorism adviser, briefs him on details of the shooting at the sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. the president later said when he went there, that was the worst day of his presidency. >> he did say that, and it clearly impacted him so terribly. i remember one day on the campaign, when he was most down trodden was the day of the aurora shooting. the rug he's standing on has foems quotes that he loves. and one he uses often, the
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martin luther king quote, the arc of moral justice is long, but it bends towards justice, and that's certainly applicable in this case. >> and he went up to newtown and delivered a powerful speech and he also met with some kids there. let's put it up and show it to our viewers. there, he's pretty happy there, a great picture that pete sousa took. >> the traveling staff used to say, he was a baby whisperer, because he was drawn to babies in rope lines and backstage, behind the scenes. this was clearly such a great moment in an otherwise sorrow-filled day. and i know some of the siblings of one of the young girls who lost her life are in this photo as well. >> such a nice picture. let's go to the next picture, a very different picture, october 2nd, 2012. the president rehearsing debate preparation. you see ron klain behind the desk. you were involved in the campaign. john kerry played mitt romney. >> he did, almost too well, to the point where he got under the president's skin, because he
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played him so well. >> did you ever watch any of those rehearsals? >> i didn't, i tried to stay out of the fray of that, but this was the day before the infamous first debate. you have ron klain, who ran debate prep there. senator kerry, clearly, they justeneded a mock debate session here and they're kind of going through what happened, what to work on, some fine points before the debate. >> here's november 6th, 2012, happens to be election day. the president is waiting for a concession call from the governor mitt romney. >> so this is a moment -- >> by the way, take a look and see what channel they're watching. >> clearly, we would like to fix it sometimes for you. >> they're watching cnn, very important. go ahead. >> clearly in this photo, they're fine tuning. we all thought, including cnn, the race was going to be called much later, so they had a much shorter timeline -- >> that's his speechwriter in the middle? >> that's jon favreau, david axelrod, his senior adviser, you see the remnants on jon favreau of the beard that many of the campaign staff grew. now, in the neighboring room is
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all of his friends and family and close campaign aides, celebrating. they're really trying hard to concentrate and make sure they really capture the moment. >> here's the next one. you see the president, he's obviously happy on election day with his wife. >> yeah, he is. you know, so happy. there was just elation in that room. there was crying, there was hugging, there was screaming. we see valerie jarrett there, and i think that maybe craig robinson, the first lady's brother in the back. this was really a warm room. people who they felt very comfortable with and had been a part of the journey from the beginning. >> june 28th, 2012. look at this, the president is over at the walter reed national military medical center in bethesda, maryland and he's actually praying with a wounded warrior. >> yeah, these are moments that the president rarely speaks about. you know, he enjoys going to walter reed, he enjoys talking to the soldiers' families. there aren't media allowed in, so this was a white house photo that was released, i'm sure with the agreement of this family, and he's very much touched by these moments. he keeps them with him when he's making decisions about global
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policy. >> it's a nice picture. very good pictures. i want to thank the white house photographers for those excellent pictures. >> they're great. >> jen psaki, thank you for coming in and sharing with us your thoughts. >> my pleasure. earth is poised for a close encounter, get this, with an asteroid. up next, will there be any threat to the united states when we're closer to the asteroid than we are to the moon. and at the top of the hour, it's the first day of a new session of congress. the house speaker, john boehner, already facing some push bam from his own party. b
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blp. an asteroid is on track to make a relatively close car with earth. key words, relatively close. in fact, so close that it will come between us and the moon and even closer than major communication satellites. cnn meteorologist chad myers is tracking this asteroid for us. chad, we're talking pretty short distance, relatively speaking, when it comes to space. >> yeah, only 14,000 miles. and that's just a little more than the old cars had for a warranty, a 12,000 mile warranty. so it's going to be very close. it's not going to hit the earth. we already know that. but what it's going to do, wolf, it's actually going to come between where our satellites are, even the ones that take pictures for the weather and the
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gps satellites, fly right by the earth, and right out the other side. it could impact satellites two different times, but that's unlike. the satellites are very small and this thing is not very big at all. comparatively, we don't want to get hit by it. it's bigger than two train cars put together, it weighs an awful lot, it would do a lot of damage if it did hit, but so far right now, it is not going to hit here. february 15th is its closest approach. you would think, can i look at it? probably not without a telescope or a really good pair of binoculars. it won't be quite that bright for that to happen. but the moon is 239,000 miles away. this thing is only going to be between about 14,000 and 16,000 miles from the surface of the earth, wolf. >> so the bottom line, chad, give us a little perspective. bottom line, folks are watching, should we be nervous, not so nervous? excited? give us a little analysis. >> maybe excited, but you should
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not be nervous. this is the diameter of the earth, almost maybe 8,000 miles, rounded up. there's another 8,000 and there's another 4,000. so compared to the diameter of the earth, it's going to be way out here, flying on by. now, considering that the moon is still another 225,000 miles away, this is a very close brush. and this does come within a few hundred thousand or million miles of the earth twice a year. what we don't know quite yet is what the earth will do to this trajectory, to the orbit. will it bend the trajectory just a little bit, so that the next time it comes by, could it with a little bit closer or a little bit farther away? all those things in 3-d space, kind of all get your head in a spin, so to speak. >> spinning right now. chad, thanks very much for that. >> you're welcome, wolf. and happening now, the opening of a new congress. will it see the kind of drama and dysfunction that marked the last one. two new members are here this hour.
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out of the hospital and on her way out of a job. a closer look at hillary clinton's final days as secretary of state, as she prepares to step down. and extraordinary measures as the children of the sandy hook elementary school, they return to school for the first time since the massacre. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." days of drama replaced by solemnity and celebration on capitol hill as the members of the 113th congress were sworn in today. new members and returning members now make up a national legislature unlike any in american history. cnn's senior congressional correspondent dana bash is up on capitol hill for us. so dana, tell our viewers what we saw today? >> reporter: you know, our producer here, ted barrett, who's been here a long time, summed it up perfectly. it was like a combination of the last day of school and the first day of school. the last day, because the old congress went right into the new congress. there was no break. so people were fed up, they were
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upset, they wanted to get out of here, but the first day of school, because you also saw the halls filled with new members of congress, their children, their parents. it was a much-needed burst of hope. >> the senate will come to order. >> the house will be in order. >> reporter: the 113th congress gaveled in at noon on january 3rd, just as the constitution requires. and the house speaker sought to remind lawmakers they're part of a privileged history. >> and for those of you who are returning, who have walked these aisles before, maybe it's time we get a little awe-struck again. put simply, we're sent here not to be something, but to do something. >> reporter: boehner's re-election as speaker was not as easy this second time around. roughly a dozen republicans cast
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protest votes against him. >> cantor. >> reporter: conservative freshman, determined to shake things up -- >> jones? [ inaudible ] >> david walker? >> reporter: gop members boehner booted from committees. >> the honorable j.a. boehner. >> reporter: but boehner got enough votes for re-election, and he tried to reassure restive republicans. >> as speaker, i pledge to listen and to do all i can to help all of you carry out your oath of office that we are all about to take. because in our hearts, we know it's wrong to pass this debt on to our kids and our grandkids. >> reporter: the new congress didn't bring a shift in power, but it did usher in big change. >> please raise your right hand. >> reporter: new female senators sworn in brought the total for women to 20, an historic high. and in the house, where democrats were once the party of the solid white south, for the
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first time, white men are now the minority of democrats. >> how do you feel about your caucus, for the first time, being not majority white men? >> well, look, you look across the chamber and you look at the democratic side. they look like american. i think it's is a wonderful thing. >> it means that we reflect america more. the district i come from is a very diverse district, and it's good to see congress starting to look more like america. and you see the democratic shifts that are happening across the country. >> but for all the sights and sounds of the new congress, like names being changed on this board, perhaps one of the most poignant moments was this. a triumphant return for 53-year-old senator mark kirk, absent for a full year after suffering a stroke. he came back into the building for the first time with a climb up the senate steps. and at a time of deep dysfunction here in congress, the fact that senator kirk had this personal ability to overcome adversity was a pretty powerful symbol again, of hope.
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>> a lot of people focusing once again on the speaker, john boehner. he gets weepy-eyed and sentimental, pretty emotional on these kinds of days. we're getting used to it, right, dana? >> reporter: we're definitely getting used to it. but one of producers timed that he didn't take out his handkerchief until 3 minutes and 45 seconds into his speech, which i think is a record. >> thanks very much, dana, doing an excellent job for us. kate balduan is here in "the situation room." gloria borger is here with us as well. a new congress sworn in. major battles, though, loom welco welcomeing, gloria, debt ceiling. >> this may be why boehner is crying. >> will they raise the debt ceiling. domestic national security cuts, unpopular spending cuts, funding to keep the federal government open. are we in a state of constant confrontation in this new congress right now? >> we are. and we just got here. and there's a lot of unfinished business. and it all has to do with the state of the economy.
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and it all has to do with politics, and it's like one speed bump after another, when you think of it. i was talking to an aide to the republican leadership in the senate today, who said, look, we might not even get to think about what the president calls his agenda, until june at the earliest. so you're talking about issues like tax reform, which everybody has been talking about, lots of questions now about whether the air has gone out of the balloon on that one, because they've done some tax changes. immigration reform, whether you're ever going to be able to get republicans and democrats together on that one. if there's a lot of bad blood, and we assume lots will be spilled, going through the rest of these fiscal issues. >> and you wrote about it in another one of your great columns, your most recent column for cnn, about who's to blame, really, for where we are. it was very interesting. i want to read to our viewers in part what you said. "republicans are divided, engaged in outright civil war.
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the no-tax die-harded kept the house speaker from cutting any real and meaningful deal. then again, liberal democrats wouldn't touch medicare and social security. and then there's the president himself. sometimes it feels like his debate is mostly internal, dween the transformational president he wants to be and the transactional president he has become." you're absolutely right on all of those points. so can you place blame on one party more than the other, one elected official over the other? >> and by the way, then there's us. then there are the voters. the voters who say, we want everything, but we don't want to pay for it, okay? or, cut the other guy, but don't cut me. raise his taxes, don't raise my taxes. and sure, you know, the president has a point when he says that he wasn't able to deal with republicans, who didn't want to raise taxes, no matter what. he made it a campaign issue. and he won that fight. now we're going to come back and the republicans are going to say, our issue, by the way, was making government smaller, spending cuts, and they're going to say to the president, now you've got to deal with us on
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our turf. and so we're going to be relitigating these arguments for months and months and months? and it's the public that's sort of sitting there saying, okay, i get it. we elected you to make the hard decisions. and what's occurring is the politicians are following, they're not leading. and that's not news to any of us, but that's what's going on. so it's easier -- >> -- approval rating, but we're the people who elected them. >> right. but it's easier to fail, because then if you fail, you can place the blame on somebody else. if you succeed, you actually have to take responsibility. >> do you have any advice for these new members? >> well, get something done. get something done. my advice would be, and you guys know this, because you've all covered the hill and the politics and congress. it's actually, get to know the people you work with. i would say to the president, have some of these guys over to dinner once in a while and talk when you're not at the fiscal cliff. >> criticism for the first time. >> exactly. and i would say that to republicans and democrats, actually stay in town a weekend
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or two. like the old days, and try to get to know each other. so that maybe you can try and cut some deals for the good of the nation. >> when you know each other, it's easier to cut a deal. it's harder to just yell and point the finger at the other guy. that's how deals used to be done. >> good advice. >> in the olden days. >> thank you. thanks, we'll have much more on these stories coming up. we have some new members who will be joining us as well. other news, though, we're following. we're learning from connecticut officials that the former congresswoman, gabrielle giffords, now planning to visit newtown, connecticut, tomorrow, the scene of that school massacre that took the lives of 25 children and teachers. giffords, herself, was gravely injured in a mass shooting in tucson in 2011. today was the first day back at school for the survivors of the newtown tragedy, and every effort was made to put students and parents at ease. cnn's deborah feyerick was there. >> reporter: wolf, there was a lot of anxiety, a lot of
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concern. nobody knew exactly what quite to expect today, or how all the children would react. but the school started on time, and by mid-morning, a mom told me that in fact both the parents and the kids were doing great. she said it was an amazing day. she said that the teachers greeted the children and the parents with great big hugs, they took them to the classrooms, the kindergartners had circle time, they talked about what they did over their christmas vacation, while some of the fourth graders, they went on a scavager hunt. they explored the new building, it has two floors, not just one. all of this was a way to establish some routine, to get the children back into sort of what an ordinary day was like before the tragedy happened. >> they took the bus, so we had the normal routine of giving them breakfast and getting their backpacks packed. and then they went out, we went out and waited for the bus. and then as soon as the bus came, they didn't even look back. it was, bye, guys, and they just kind of waved and ran on to the bus. >> there were some emotional moments in the beginning of the day, but i think once everybody got there and saw the community
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and the way the school was all set and ready and everybody that was there for support. i mean, you couldn't walk around a corner without somebody asking, did you need something? are you okay? there was coffee. everything was set up for us. so i think that made everybody feel at ease. >> reporter: did you, by any chance, see any of the siblings of the 20? >> no, i did not see any of them. >> reporter: okay. so, abby, when you go back to class, it's a new school, but do you think the school is going to be okay? >> yes. >> reporter: yeah? are you nervous anymore? >> no. >> reporter: do you think you'll want your mom to come tomorrow, or do you think you'll be okay? >> i think i'll be okay. >> reporter: and that seems to be really the prevailing sentiment, that, in fact, everyone is going to be okay. the people of sandy hook and newtown don't want to be identified by the tragedy that happened here, but how they responded and how they healed as a community. and there were lots of volunteers, lots of counselors, even therapy dogs all there to support the families and the children who were inside that school building. the parents were allowed to go to the classes, they were
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allowed to sit with the children, and take part in the activities, just to show the children that, you know, it's okay. that everything is going to be okay. the parents then met with the principal, the superintendent, and police officers. security wasn't the issue, the greater issue, the greater concern was counseling. how will authorities identify whether a child needs help or whether, in fact, a teacher may need help. those are some of the questions they were asking. but the dad, andrew pelly, who i spoke to earlier today, he told me, he said, look, perception and reality are two different things, but the perception, based on what he experienced with his two 9-year-old twins, he said, it is good. it is really good. so the healing certainly has begun, and more importantly, the routine that the children so desperately need to begin to heal and move on, that also has started. wolf? >> deborah feyerick, thanks very much. 26 people were killed in that school, 20 kids, 6 educators, not just 25 as i just said.
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brings back, you and i were there, pretty horrible memories. >> and they still live on for so many families there. still ahead in "the situation room," the 113 congress was sworn in just a few hours ago. we already know it's the most diverse congress ever, but how else will it be different, if at all? we'll talk to two brand-new members about their plan for changing washington. plus, a terror and assassination force 20,000 strong. troubling new details on a new report of iran's intelligence service. i gave birth to my daughter on may 18th, five days later, i had a massive heart attack. bayer aspirin was the first thing the emts gave me. now, i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ woman ] learn from my story. before you begin an aspirin regimen. excuse me, sir i'm gonna have to ask you to power down your little word game.
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a lot of new faces in washington, d.c. today and this week. >> and wolf is very excited about it, but soon they'll be familiar to the whole country. we're talking about the new lawmakers sworn in today as members of the 113th congress.
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>> two of them are joining us here in "the situation room" right now. the new republican senator from texas, ted cruz. also, the democratic congresswoman from hawaii, tulsy gabbard. it's your first day in washington. all right, congressman, what do you think? >> first of all, we've had a large group of people who flew out from hawaii for this special day. very lucky they brought me some lei and fresh flowers -- >> any symbolic meaning? >> this is the mily lei, a very sweet-smelling fragrance and often worn in hawaii. >> very nice. >> yes. >> do you want to smell -- >> sorry didn't bring anything -- >> i feel very underdressed. >> you got a hat, got boots, what do you have from texas? >> i've got my boots on. >> oh, good. is this your first time -- first time, obviously, as a senator. you've been here before, but what do you think? >> it's my first time in elected office. the last office i was elected to was student council. >> not you're the united states senator from texas. how's that? >> it's been a pretty magical
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trip. >> are you walking around pinching yourself? >> a little bit, and when i'm not, my wife is pimplging myself for me. >> this is a very exciting time for both of you. what's going to be your priority? now that you're a united states congresswoman what hawaii, what is the number one issue that you want to work on? >> there's an issue that means a lot to me personally, in that tammy duckworth and i are the first female combat veterans ever elected in our nation's history. and understanding that we have 1.8 million, over 1.8 million women veterans all across the country, women who leave their homes every day to go and serve overseas, leaving their families behind. i look forward to being able to bring a very strong voice to the challenges that they face, but also the capabilities that they offer and the opportunities that are there. >> so you want to be on the armed services committee? >> i will be on the homeland security committee, actually, but look forward to being an advocate for the armed services, as well as veterans, as a
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veteran myself. >> senator, i had the opportunity to speak with you, just the day after the election. and during our interview, you said that if president obama followed the model of president clinton, and worked with republicans, you would be happy to work with him on many issues. so you are here today, you're finally not senator-elect, you are senator ted cruz. what does that mean now that you are in -- you are here, you are in washington, and specifically, when you've seen the debacle and the fight that has gone on over the last few weeks? >> right. well, i think the deal that was cut on the fiscal cliff was a lousy deal. i would have voted against it. >> you would have? >> it raised taxed by $620 billion. i think that's going to kill jobs. i think that's going to hurt small business, and i think that's going to hurt americans. >> you would have voted against it? i would have voted against it. and it combined tax increases with not spending cuts -- >> even though millions of texans would have seen their -- middle class families would have seen their taxes going up? >> i would have voted against it. the only reason their taxes would have gone up is because president obama and harry reid were pushing to raise taxes.
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>> accept in the real world, the only reason their taxes would have gone up is because you would have voted to see their taxes going up. >> at the end of the day, i think we need to be solving these problems. and jacking
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happening now. controversy and health crises that mark hillary clinton's final days as the secretary of state. we have new information about some critical presidential cabinet posts coming up. also, sources are telling me, telling cnn, i should say, when we might be hearing an announcement. and we'll have much more on a regular army, disturbing new details emerging about iran's intelligence service. just out of the hospital, already working. the state department says hillary clinton dialed into a conference call today, and she
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could be back on the job, full-time, as early as next week, following a series of health crises that have overshadowed her final days as the secretary of state. kate is here. she's been taking a closer look at what lies ahead for the secretary of state. >> as you well know, wolf, the end of 2012 was supposed to be marked by hillary clinton's farewell tour as the country's top diplomat. things have clearly changed, leaving many to wonder, with what lasting impact. after logging more than 950,000 miles, visiting 112 countries, hillary clinton is known for keeping a grueling schedule and enjoys something rarely seen anymore in politics, a huge approval rating. close to 70% in early december. >> she is tireless and extraordinary. >> it's because, i think, she works hard, she does a good job, she really care. she authentically cares. and she has, i think, devoted her whole life to this set of issues, trying to help folks. >> reporter: it seemed certain the secretary would end her
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tenure on a high note, but the closing chapter of her post has turned into anything but a fond farewell. illness, a concussion, and most recently, a blood clot has sidelined clinton for more than three weeks. >> she is talking to staff. she is taking paper at home. she sounds terrific. she's looking forward to coming back to work next week. >> reporter: and she still faces tough questions about the september 11th attack on the mission in benghazi, which threatens to leave a lasting stain on her three-decades' long career. clinton told cnn back in october, it's a disaster she takes responsibility for. >> i'm in charge of the state department. 60,000 plus people, all over the world, 275 posts. the president and the vice president, certainly, wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professional. >> reporter: beyond leaving a mark on her legacy, that attack and the continuing violence in the middle east, especially
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syria, now become unfinished business the secretary may leave behind. >> it can't be ending on a high, but i think it's part of a broader piece. this isn't a slam dunk world. there were no spectacular successes to be had. there were only, as i've described elsewhere, migraines or root canals. >> reporter: as she moves into the next chapter of her life, and possibly a 2016 presidential bid, a real question is whether unfinished business might become political baggage. >> her challenge is not going to be that americans are going to be looking back and saying, how come you didn't fix syria, or why didn't the mull -- how come the mullahs haven't given up their quest for a weapon. i think her greatest challenge is that she's going to be running against history. can you have another four to eight years of democratic rule after the last eight? >> still, she is hugely popular, both here and abroad. when asked today about the
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number of goodwill, get-well messages that secretary clinton has been sent following her illness, a spokeswoman at the state department says it has been a tsunami of messages. >> yeah, she's very popular, not only in the united states, but around the world. and she's been, i think, to almost every country in the world. >> paul begala even told me today, he thinks she's the most recognizable face, female face, coming from our country, around the world. >> and we wish her the best. >> we do. we're also just learning that three powerful senators are asking the cia for documents about the agency's cooperation in making the film "zero dark thirty" about the mission that took out osama bin laden. our pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence, has been working this story for us. what are you picking up, chris? >> yeah, wolf, republicans and democrats are demanding that the cia hand over all information that they provided to the film makers of "zero dark thirty," and our indications now are that the cia is going to apply. a cia official telling us just in the last few minutes, really, that they take their
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responsibility to these oversight committees very seriously. now, i don't want to ruin the film for anyone, but you almost have to tell a little bit about it to tell the story. there is a scene in the movie where a suspected terrorist is being waterboarded. he then gives up some information on the courier, the al qaeda courier is the one who led the cia to osama bin laden. now, compounding this is the fact that the cia director sent this letter to all the cia employees ask this movie started to come out saying, look, that's not completely accurate. we know this one person did not lead to osama bin laden. but they did get some information from enhanced interrogation that did help find bin laden. and that's what these senators are really pointing to. what is this "some information." because the senators are saying, look, our committees pored through millions of documents,
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went through all of this testimony, lacking into this hunt for bin laden, and we were never told that. they say that the one person who actually gave the most accurate information about this courier, he did so before he went through this enhanced interrogation. and no prisoners who were interrogated in this way gave up the name of the courier or the fact that bin laden was at this compound. so they've got a lot of questions for the cia, and they want to see the documents and the information, because the film does say that it was based on firsthand, real, factual accounts, wolf. >> chris, thanks very much. i don't know about you, but i'm looking forward to seeing the film and then making up my own mind. appreciate it very much. still ahead, inauguration day is less than three weeks away and the white house is trying to fill gaps in president obama's second term cabinet. with the clock ticking, is a controversial pick still on the table?
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so with a new congress now in place, more attention is turning to the new presidential cabinet and several key posts that need to be filled and filled quickly. >> filled quickly is right. our white house correspondent, dan lothian, is traveling with president obama in honolulu. dan, what are you hearing from your sources? >> reporter: well, first of all, administration sources are telling me that there are no plans for the president to make any cabinet announcements while here in hawaii, but that it's possible, though not definite, that it could happen as early as next week, back in washington. these are key positions that the president has to fill, and these are nominations, some of them, that could get some stiff resistance.
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cnn has learned chuck hagel, a top contender for the defense department post, whose prospects had appeared to be dimming, amid criticisms fr s is still in the. max clooeld tells cnn, i understand his nomination is back on the table and i believe very strongly he should be defense secretary. a strong endorsement that the president is not yet ready to make. but recently on nbc's "meethe press," didn't count him out. >> my number one criteria will be, who's going to do the best job in helping to secure america. >> anything disqualify him? >> not that i see. >> reporter: but hagel's supporters are concerned about the process of names being floated, exposed to harsh scrutiny before they are formally named. >> anyone with any record of involvement in controversial issues will always mobilize against the would-be appointee.
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a whole phalanx of accusations and sometimes distortions. >> reporter: if not hagel, michele flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, remains in the mix. at the treasury department, where secretary timothy geithner plans to leave some time around inauguration, one name floated, american express ceo, kenneth chenault, has no plans to leave that country, a spokesman confirmed to cnn. white house chief of staff jack lew is considered to be another choice for the job. and at the cia, john brennan and acting cia director, michael morrell, remain on the short list, according to a source. history shows most presidents get the nominees they want, but in this political environment, there's no guarantee. >> it used to just be supreme court justices who inspired these sort of partisan free-for-alls. now it's bleeding down into a president's cabinet picks as well. >> reporter: now, we do know one of the picks the president has made for secretary of state. that is senator john kerry. his confirmation expected to be
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a smooth one. now, i did talk to a senior administration official to find out if the president had already settled on names, but just not made them public. this official told me, quote, no decision is final. kate? >> we are watching and waiting la along with you. dan lothian in beautiful honolulu tonight. thanks, dan. a very different story we're following, including iran. it has thousands of secret agent who is the u.s. government now says are plotting attacks across the globe and here in the united states, while hurting people right at home. we have details of a new congressional report that has just come out. were going to turn it around, and we did. woman: we're helping joplin, missouri, come back from a devastating tornado. man: and now we're helping the east coast recover from hurricane sandy. we're a leading global insurance company, based right here in america. we're now leaner, and focused on what we do best. we've repaid every dollar america lent us. everything, plus a profit of more than $22 billion. for the american people. aig, we turned it around.
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thank you, america. thank you, america. thank you, america, for the freedom to insure a brighter future. when we make guarantees for people's lifetimes, we have to act as a company that will make sure we are here for their lifetimes. we made a commitment to repay and we did, and gave america a profit. pretty proud of that. helping people recover and rebuild -- that's what we do. now let's bring on tomorrow.
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tens of thousands of people whose job description include murder, terror, and mayhem. >> we're talking about iran's intelligence service. brian todd has been working on a disturbing new report that's just come out. you got the details, brian. >> well, wolf and kate, it tells us that iran's intelligence agencies, which report directly to supreme leader ali khamenei are so powerful, that they've got operations going on all over the middle east, but also in latin america and the united states. assassination plots, terrorist bombings, cyberwarfare. tactics used around the world by
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iran's intelligence service, one of the largest and most aggressive spy operations in the world. that's according to a new report by government researchers commissioned by the pentagon. the report says iran's ministry of intelligence and security has 30,000 people working for it. that's compared to just over 100,000 in the 17 u.s. intelligence agencies and offices. >> from the standpoint of u.s. national security, western national security, what's the most dangerous operation that iranian intelligence has its hand in, do you think? >> well, i think the most dangerous thing they do is terrorism. they have, for decades now, developed networks, with other terrorist groups, so they, themselves, don't necessarily have to do something. they can contract it out. they can encourage others to engage in terrorism against the united states and our allies. >> reporter: a former cia officer who tracked iranian intelligence through europe and the middle east says the iranian ministry of intelligence and security used to conduct most
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iranian-sponsored assassinations overseas. he says that unit killed the former iranian prime minister, assassinated in paris in 1991. but guret says now those operations have shifted to the feared force, part of the military guard. what's their biggest force now? >> they're used as an instrument of repression. they know how to hurt people. >> reporter: the report also says the quds force is inside syria. separate from the report, congressman peter king has said that iran runs spies out of its mission to the u.n. and here at the iranian intrasection in washington. king made those comments after a plot was revealed to assassinate saudi arabia's ambassador to the u.s. the iranian-american who pleaded guilty in that case said he'd worked with iranian military
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people to formulate the plot. in the wake of that, king called for strong retaliation against iranian diplomats in the u.s. >> we, to me, should get rid of either all of them or most of them and send a clear signal. >> now, iranian officials have denied any role in trying to assassinate the saudi ambassador in washington. we called and e-mailed iran's mission to the u.s. for this latest report on the country's intelligence operations and we got no response. >> they may deny it, but i know the saudi ambassador here in washington, he believes and so many other officials believe it was a real attempt to kill him. all right, let's talk a little bit about some of the ingenious iranian plots that were out there, including one here in the united states, which was really a protection scheme. >> it was a protection operation. and he says it was just fascinating, when he was with the cia, he saw a report on what i they did when the longtime foreign minister would come to the united nations all the time on state business.
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the iranian agents who were assigned to protect him, they were not allowed to do a standard protection detail. they couldn't walk alongside him, they couldn't have a car. when the foreign minister would often visit a friend of his who lived down the street from the u.n., a pediatrician, he would walk there. well, instead of having a protection detail, which they weren't allowed to have, they would commandeer the hot dog stands along the route and pose as hot dog vendors and keep an eye on the foreign minister as he walked down the street. they were making hot dogs, posing as hot dog vendors, and watching the foreign minister has he walked down the street and back down to the u.n. they would ask the vendor, how much do you make in a day, he would say, this much, and they would say, we'll pay you that much and $500 more and give us your hot dog stand. >> those hot dogs are good. we're hungry. almost dinnertime. still ahead, starbucks is expanding globally. just ahead, you won't believe where the coffee giant is about to open up next.
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cnn's erin burnett is going outfront tonight in regard to this new 113th congress. erin, what are your guests? the house freshman who voted against john boehner for speaker. tell us what happened? >> ted yoho is his name. he's a large animal
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veterinarian. he's been profiled as someone who could be very important in this 113th congress. not only did he vote against john boehner today, he voted for eric cantor. we'll find out why. even though you say, perhaps he's really on the tea party side of things, he also refused to sign the grover norquist pledge. he could be a real blueprint as to whether anything is going to get done in this congress and why he voted for eric cantor. plus, we're going to talk about in maryland, wolf, we've been talking a lot about mental health in relation to gun policy in this country. and in maryland, a panelist has come forth with a panel of recommendations that say, if you make a threat against somebody, a threat against their lives or makes them feel afraid, that if you have a gun, law enforcement could come and seize all of your firearms. is that fair or is that a violation of the second amendment? that's coming up, top of the hour. >> it's a good, intriguing question. i'll be watching, erin. thanks very much. sounds like an excellent show at the top of the hour. other news we're following including a taliban commander who is killed in a suspected drone strike. kate's been monitoring that, some of the other top stories in "the situation room." what happened?
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>> this all happened in pakistan's volatile tribal region. 15 people are dead from what appears to be two separate drone strikes, targeting militant. the slain taliban leader is believed to be behind a number of attacks that have targeted the u.s. military. other stories we're watching, first bp paid a massive fine for its role in the 2010 gulf oil spill, and now transocean appears to be following suit. the firm that owned the deepwater ocean rig will pay $1.4 billion to the government and plead guilty to violating the clean water act. bp, you'll probably remember, paid $4.5 billion back in november. and a remarkable comeback for the auto industry. 2012 was the best year for carmakers since the recession, with the biggest sales jump in three decades. initial figures show ford, gm, chrysler, and toyota all meeting or beating their sales forecast. consumers drove off with $14.5
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million new vehicles last year and more than $15 million are expected to move this year, quite a comeback. and starbucks, probably no surprise at this point, is expanding. where this time? in asia. the seattle-based company has announced plans to open its first store in vietnam next month. that follows the company's debut in india just a few months ago. starbucks has more than 3,000 stores across asia and vietnam will be the 62nd country in the world where you can get a venti, half cap, skinny latte, or whatever you prefer. >> i like a venti skimmed latte. i would like to learn how to say that in vietnamese. >> we'll check how to say that. >> like a half calf? >> i'm more a straight, black, coffee girl. >> venti skim latte for me. >> well. it's a bird, it's a plane, it's superman, sort of. jeanne moos is next.
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upstate new york has gotten a lot of snow lately, as it often does this time of year, and that's helped one man create this larger than life snowman, all for a little fun and also for a good cause. this guy is more than 36 feet tall. and when folks come by to take a picture with it, they're asked
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to bring food to donate to the local pantries. they've collected more than 65 pounds of food in just a few days. that is a whole lot of snow. >> yeah, big guy. nice. very nice. >> look at this. it's a bird, it's a plane, it's a remote controlled device that looks an awful lot like superman. while that phrase may not catch on, necessarily, the superman flying machine most certainly is. cnn's jeanne moos has the story. >> here it comes. >> reporter: he may look like the man of steel, but he's actually the man of lightweight foam. >> faster than a speeding bullet. >> reporter: actually, his top speed is 30 miles per hour. but the sight of superman flying above the california coast was enough to make a cyclist stop and shoot it. the video went viral and now folks are wondering. >> look! up in the sky! >> it's a bird! >> it's a plane! >> it's superman! >> reporter: yeah, if superman were 5'2" and weighed less than 2 pounds. he's a sensation on the local
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news. >> the big question, where'd they hide the propeller? >> reporter: it's not nice to laugh at superman. but we'll show you, on the female version, supergirl. >> there's a propeller. >> reporter: with an electric motor and a battery that goes on her head. he has built about a dozen of these remote controlled figures. he's a former air force test pilot, with a long career in aviation. he even customized superman with a cape, that he had to shorten to keep his superhero aerodynamic. aesthetically, it adds a lot to it, plus, it sounds really cool, when you fly by, and

The Situation Room
CNN January 3, 2013 1:00pm-4:00pm PST

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Washington 23, Clinton 15, Hawaii 11, John Boehner 10, Cia 8, Erskine Bowles 7, Boehner 7, Syria 5, Benghazi 5, Ntsb 5, Obama 5, Geico 5, Iran 5, Pakistan 5, John Kerry 4, Deborah Feyerick 4, Sandy 4, Nancy Pelosi 4, North Korea 4, Texas 4
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